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A Nordic Road Trip: What Were We Thinking?

For years now Paul has teased about taking a Winnebago across North America after retirement. Fat chance, I always retort, that is, if you expect me to come along. I can think of few things worse. Seriously!

Born and bred in the Southern USA, I’ve had enough of extenuating road trips, endless highways stretching from east to west and from north to south, and standard and some substandard roadside parks and rest areas. I’ve long taken to the skies.

Still recently, however, Paul and I drove about 3,500 kilometers (approximately 2,200 miles) around Sweden, Norway and Denmark, after flying to Stockholm, where we hired a trusted Volkswagen Golf for the tour.

What were we thinking? Paul, likely, in true British style had high hopes for more sunshine and less rain, a big desire for wild adventure and an eagerness for plenty of surprise. Not to mention his laid back attitude about our accommodation.

I, on the other hand, longed for above average accommodation, haute cuisine–even if I am darn near intolerant of all things yummy–haute couture and a destination  relatively close to Georgia, USA, preferably with a spot of sunshine.

I know. I know. Distance is all relative, but at least we didn’t head off to India, Africa or on Paul’s much talked about round the world trip. Make no mistake about it, I am game, well at least for the first two, but not now with my mother being seriously ill.

Anyhow in compromise we ventured into lessor known parts of Sweden, unknown and well-known parts of Norway, and hotspots of Denmark.

Having done little or no research for the holiday, unlike us to be honest, we faced plenty of surprises, pleasant ones for the most part. At the last minute, however, I picked up a copy of Lonely Planet, after a necessary trip to my orthodontist in Marylebone. After nearly 10 years, my permanent retainer had broken. With a new one fastened securely, I found myself leafing through the travel guide on my Uber ride home and briefly glanced up to respond to the driver’s curiosity about what I was reading.

Just before then my eyes had feasted on Copenhagen’s Noma, voted the world’s best restaurant for the last three years in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants guide. Thus, I told him Scandinavia in a rather irritated voice, knowing there was no chance we would get into Noma at such late notice. People reserve for months in advance to get a table there.

‘Don’t go there,’ he said. I closed the book and looked ahead in dismay. His dark eyes searched my face through his rear view mirror. ‘It’s not a good destination for brown people,’ he said, explaining that though he was originally from Iraq, he grew up in Denmark.

Having read earlier on the Internet what the street committee had to say about racism in Scandinavia, long after the tickets were booked albeit, my heart sank to its lowest degree again. What were we thinking?

But then I remembered all the racial matters going on in the world, particularly  in my home country. So I tossed the cynicism out the window and got thinking again about the pending holiday, all the opportunities ahead.

The excitement of exploration opened my mind and pretty much kept it accessible throughout the entire two weeks. Thus, I found the Swedish people youthful and accommodating, with the odd exception here and there, the Norwegian scenery breathtakingly beautiful, save for the few rough spots, and the Danish cuisine, delectable, even if it is over the top expensive, not to mention my refusal to admit to allergies and intolerances. Never mind, it was worth it. And I did a bit of my kind of shopping, too, in both Stockholm and Copenhagen.

In short I am pleased to say we have been there and done that, even though we didn’t get much sunshine or less rain for that matter. Not to mention the less than average accommodation in some spots. Would I do it again? Not a chance in full. It was too much to cram into the short period of time, only affording us one night in most places, albeit this was more than enough in a few cases. The point it is, however, the trip was exhausting, though exhilarating.

Besides, road travel is not my thing, remember. A different option would be to take the trip off the road and do it my way–fly!  Still we not only racked up miles but also awesome memories, too, memories to savour for years to come.

What were we thinking? And what did we discover? Find out more here on sonjalewis.com. Stay tuned.